French asset manager Amundi has teamed up with energy firm EDF to create a joint asset management company to “raise funds from institutional and retail investors and to manage on behalf of third parties funds intended to finance projects relating to energy transition”. EDF will contribute via its “privileged access” to investment opportunities while Amundi will provide its investment structuration skills and fund-raising capabilities. They have set a fund-raising goal at €1.5bn.
A new 20-member Climate Bonds Expert Working Group has started to develop eligibility criteria for climate bonds linked to Agriculture and Forestry investments. The new Agriculture, Forestry and Other Land Use (AFOLU) Expert Group had its first meeting last week. The Climate Bonds Standard is supervised by a board which includes the likes of the California State Teachers Retirement System (CalSTRS), CDP [Carbon Disclosure Project], the Ceres Investor Network on Climate Risk and the Investor Group on Climate Change and the Institutional Investor Group on Climate Change. The Climate Bonds Initiative also said that the Royal Bank of Canada has become a Climate Bonds Partner. Link
The Bank of England has reportedly written to around 30 insurance companies to gauge the risk that climate change poses to solvency and earnings. The Financial Times said the central bank has asked them if they knew when changing temperatures or extreme weather events might affect business models. The FT cited a letter from the bank’s Prudential Regulation Authority as asking if companies have considered how climate change could affect investment portfolios.
Robeco, the Dutch asset manager that’s now majority owned by ORIX Corp. of Japan, attracted net new money (NNM) of €5.6bn in the six months to the end of September, according to ORIX’s consolidated financial results statement. Robeco’s total assets under management are now €237.7bn, the firm says.
TIAA–CREF Asset Management says so-called “vaccine bonds” from the International Finance Facility for Immunizations (IFFIm) have performed well given the dual benefit of attractive relative value and positive social impact. In an article (‘How buying bonds helped save the lives of 6m kids in least-developed nations’), Stephen Libertore, Managing Director/Lead Portfolio Manager – SRI Fixed Income at the US financial services giant, noted how demand for the bonds “often far outstrips available supply”. Link. Governance
Eumedion, the Dutch institutional investors’ corporate governance body, says integrated reporting and a more informative and effective ‘in control statement’ and internal audit function are the main themes of focus for dialogue with Dutch listed companies in the run up to the reporting and proxy season 2015. The themes are incorporated in the so-called Eumedion Focus Letter 2015 that has been sent to Dutch listed companies. “Eumedion believes that integrated reporting is a logical and necessary next step in corporate reporting, as environmental, social and governance information already is critical for assessing the performance and prospects of companies, and for the important stewardship role that investors both want and need to exercise,” the group said. Link
A range of investors have disclosed they are voting against pay at software firm Oracle. Domini Social Investments, Christian Brothers Investment Services, Trillium Asset Management and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) have all voted against the Advisory Vote to Ratify Named Executive Officers’ Compensation ahead of the company’s November 5 annual meeting, according to the Proxy Democracy site.
Glass Lewis & Co., the US proxy advisory firm, says it will launch a data-only version of its reports to help it be more transparent about its working methods. Chief Executive Katherine Rabin told the European Corporate Governance Conference in Milan that the firm would pilot the initiative to a handful of companies in 2015. “My research team wants to kill me whenever we have a meeting on this,” she joked, but stressed its research is its intellectual property.
The Institute of Business Ethics, the London-based non-profit professional organization has published a new report to help guide pension fund trustees make sound decisions. In the report, IBE’s Associate Director Peter Montagnon looks at “ethical challenges” – ranging from fiduciary duty, investment decisions and conflicts of interest to employing consultants. A core principle is that trustees “have an over-arching obligation to scheme members to deliver on the pension promise”. The report is called Ethical Challenges Facing Pension Fund Trustees. Montagnon, former Director of Investment Affairs at the Association of British Insurers (ABI), was most recently an advisor to the Financial Reporting Council. The report has been backed by Hermes and the National Association of Pension Funds.